1.2 Parsing Conventions

This section describes how the arguments are acquired and what basic syntax is used for parsing them.

1.2.1 Parsing of CGI Arguments

The CGI always passes arguments as name/value pairs, where the name is separated from the value by an equals sign and the individual pairs are separated by ampersands.

Boolean options option may be given as option=yes or option=no. Option names may be abbreviated, as long as they remain unambiguous.

1.2.2 Parsing of Command Lines

We distinguish between long option names and single character options. Long options are given as --option or --option=value; option names may be abbreviated as long as they remain unambiguous. Single-character options are given as -x, eventually followed by a value. Several single-character options may be combined, e. g., -xy means -x -y (provided x does not take an argument). The argument to a single-character option may be attached to the option character, i. e., you can write -xvalue or -x value.

Boolean options option may be given as --option (meaning true) or --nooption (meaning false). A single hyphen - by itself is not considered to be an option and thus is returned unchanged. Parsing stops at a double hyphen -- appearing by itself; the double hyphen itself does not appear in the output.

In the case of an unrecognized long option name or single-character option, or of an ambiguous long option prefix, an error is raised.

Denys Duchier, Leif Kornstaedt, Martin Homik, Tobias Müller, Christian Schulte and Peter Van Roy
Version 1.4.0 (20080702)